Pearls are found in the most unassuming place; their “packaging” a very dull and boring shell. Often times our faith can seem to have the same kind of packaging, which is why many of us avoid it or stop living by it. God most certainly reveals Himself, but not always in the powerful ways we would like and so we stop praying to Him and in effect staying close to Him at all. If you’re reading my blog, you most likely are a Christian, a person of faith; my thoughts and reflections are written for you. But even if you are deeply committed to your faith, the likelihood is you’ve considered what life might be like living for the things which we see promoted as the “ideals of life”. We might have considered how our lives would be with money, fame, success in business, popularity, winning at all costs. What keeps us grounded in faith?
For myself it was an encounter with the Divine Mystery of God Himself and His Son Jesus Christ.
When I was in my late twenties and had lived a life aspiring for many of those things (though I didn’t have them all) I realized what I did have was not making me any happier or more fulfilled. I was not further ahead only less satisfied with life and not really engaged in it. A very good friend who had less of those things than I did BUT was very joyful and happy shared her “pearl” with me – her faith in Jesus Christ. I didn’t accept that pearl, that treasure at first and hung on to my ideals for a while until I came to see them as lacking the depth or the allure they once had. I went with her to a faith-encounter group called Alpha and I met Jesus there. I began after a long while to go to church each week, seeking and searching for where I belonged. Week after week a different Christian community. Around 2001 I attended Holy Mass for the first time. This is where I encountered the Divine Mystery of God. I can’t explain what happened, what I experienced or what it was – but I knew at Mass I was home and I know I felt God’s Presence in a way greater than I every had before. Jesus who I had been getting to know over the last couple years drew ever closer there, and I to Him. I went to Mass there every week, daily Mass too and in 2002 decided to become Catholic. I was fully committed to that and on fire for my faith. The Holy Spirit powerfully descended upon me in April of 2003 and never having thought of priesthood or ministry before I was two and a half years later entering seminary formation. That was 13 years ago now. There have been times I have lost sight of the treasure, the pearl – God who found me. I remind myself of those glorious days when the tough ones come and go. I try not to go too long without reminding myself of all the Lord has given me. My faith is the greatest thing I have in my life. God embraced me, loved me always and patiently awaited my coming to Him. Although I know that at one time I saw the dullness and unattractive qualities of living a Christian life; having to follow God’s Will and Way, not living for the world but something that was eternal – I know now what life in Christ brings us. I have received in abundance the same gift that my friend who brought me to Christ had. Joy everlasting, a forward vision to eternity with God and others in Paradise. The pearl I would give anything for, the treasure I would buy the field for. May God bless you.